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MHS students learn nursing skills

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
April 1, 2004
Meridian High School senior Latrice Burton said she is enjoying a course at Rush Foundation Hospital because it is giving her hands-on experience in the nursing field.
Burton and 10 other Meridian High School seniors learned on Tuesday the importance of preventing the spread of infection inside the hospital. Not wearing artificial fingernails or long fingernails and washing their hands properly were among the things they learned in the first week of the seven-week course.
Wanda Jones, executive director of the Mississippi Office of Nursing Workforce in Jackson, told the Meridian School Board last week that nine Meridian High School students recently completed the Meridian Workforce Investment Act nurses' aide program. Eleven students began the second nurse's aide course on March 23.
The program, the first of its kind in the state, is supported by a grant from the Mississippi Development Authority and the Twin Districts Workforce Area Grant. Rush Foundation Hospital provides classrooms, clinical sites and staff.
Beverly Pennington and Robyn Hancock oversee the program for the school district. Pennington is program coordinator and Hancock is employment specialist.
The course also is designed to help ease the national nursing shortage by giving at-risk high school students the skills they need to become nurse's aides after graduation. After completing a nurse's aide course this summer, students will be able to take patients' vital signs, transport patients and collect specimens.
Each of the 11 students currently enrolled said they plan careers in nursing and agree that the course is steering them in the right direction.
Theresa Lee said spending time at the hospital has taught her the value of patience.